George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Lieutenant Colonel Francis Barber, 21 February 1781

From Lieutenant Colonel Francis Barber

Mendham [N.J.] huts Feb’y 21st 1781


I yesterday morning received your Excellency’s letter adressed to the commanding officer of the brigade respecting the formation of the two Light and three other companies.1 The present circumstances of the brigade will, I fear, not afford the companies to be larger than forty men each, especially the three battalion-companies, yet you may rely upon it that every exertion is making to comply with the order punctually. I shall be happy to receive your Excellency’s orders in proper season to enable me to pay a timely obedience. This I mention, on account of your letter which was dated the 16th not arriving before the 20th.

The Commissioners have renewed their investigation of the soldiers enlistments, a business attended with great perplexity. There is scarcely a single man who does not apply for his discharge & evidences are even produced to invalidate explicit enlistments. Most of the men bring witnesses from the country, who conduct rather in the stile of advocates.

If your Excellency’s orders for the command from this brigade be private, it will be proper to direct them to myself. If they be adressed to the commanding officer of the line, they are liable to be broken open, under some pretence or other, which was the case with your last letter. I am Sir, with perfect esteem & respect your Excellency’s most obedient & very humble servant

F. Barber Lieut. Col. Com. Brig.

P.S. Colonel Dayton has not yet arrived.

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